Saluki Water Workshop at Southern Illinois University
Brehm students attended the Saluki Water Workshop at Southern Illinois University, sponsored by UCOWR (Universities Council on Water Resources). We participated in interactive water resources workshops, met with faculty and student researchers at SIU, and learned about the many fields working in water.
Our first workshop was hosted by Fisheries/Zoology where students learned and answered questions regarding water quality and population density. SIU graduate students introduced the illustrated taxonomy keys to determine identification of fish and invertebrate that live within each water source. Students were split up to identify the preserved specimen and compare results. Our students were engaged and interested, looking through the Fishes of Missouri book and invertebrate chart that were provided! We were also given a tour of the fishery within the building that allowed our students to see first hand what kind of projects college students are currently working on. Our students agreed that this was one of the most exciting and hands-on workshops to start the day!
Our second workshop was hosted by the Geography and Forestry departments. We listened to a presentation on Citizen Science, which relies on everyday volunteers to report precipitation to CoCoRaHS using a standard rain gauge. We are now interested in setting this up on the Brehm campus with the help of our science teachers! After the presentation, students were led to the field to measure water infiltration rates in the soil. We learned about the different infiltration rates in various land uses. It was windy, but fun!
We took a short break for lunch, visiting SIU department tables for information, and to listen and interact with the SIU Faculty, Staff, and Undergraduate Student Panel. A couple of our students asked some great questions, such as “What made you decide your career path?” and asking about department use of the Annex building. Note: the Annex building is in the process of becoming a collaborative research center for the university.
After lunch and the panel, the third workshop was hosted by Geology, which discussed how vast the field is from paleontology to planetary science! Researchers showed us the interactive virtual reality sandbox where students were able to learn about topographical mapping by adding and subtracting height with sand. The presenters enjoyed working with our students and volunteered to come to Brehm to further answer questions and inspire students with more career options.
The last workshop was split between Engineering and Fermentation Science. A student researcher at SIU showed us how he is currently performing water experiments to find the best and affordable way to clean water. While the beakers of water were spinning with a clumping chemical, students were taken on a tour and presentation of the Fermentation Science department. Fermentation Science is in the process of creating a teaching kitchen, student brewery, and distillery at the Annex building. After the tour, we returned to see the results of the jar test and have a Q&A about the process of water treatment.
This was a very informative field trip, with a lot of information about college dispersed throughout the day. Unfortunately, only small groups from each high school can attend so the trip was limited to juniors and seniors by recommendations from science teachers. We hope to attend every year so we can rotate the science students through these sessions and add another layer of learning while experiencing these different fields for the future!